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Irradiating electrodes for more powerful and long-lived Li-ion batteries

​A large collaboration including the Iramis and two other CEA divisions (Technological Research for the Industry Division and Nuclear Energy Division) has proposed to irradiate the graphite anodes of Li-ion batteries before their first use. This technique, similar to food or medicine processing, would lead to better results than the current industrial techniques for a potentially lower cost. 

Published on 18 February 2019

In a Lithium-ion battery, the lithium ions are stored in the negative electrode (anode) during the charging. However, as time passes, the electrolyte, where the ions Li+ move back and forth between the electrodes, reacts with the anode. The corrosion products trap more and more ions Li+, therefore gradually limiting the storage capacity of the accumulator.

The manufacturers mitigate the adverse effects by operating the batteries according to well-established protocols, during several days or weeks. This way, they produce a controlled and ideal corrosion layer before the first use.

Iramis researchers have had the idea to irradiate a carbon nanoparticles anode with gamma rays, and analyze the corrosion it produced. They were surprised to find corrosion products similar to those produced by industrials during their electrochemical preparation. After they incorporated these pre-irradiated anodes to a battery, an increased storage capacity of ions (+170%) is observed. Irradiation thus allow us to be free from the long protocols currently used. 

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